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2 0 0 4 - 2 0 0 5 E D U CAT I O NA L O U T R E AC H S P O N S O R S

Syracuse Stage General Operating and Multiple Program Support In the Spotlight ($50,000 and above) Syracuse University Impresario Circle ($25,000 - 50,000) Central New York Community Foundation (The Grapes of Wrath) The Richard Mather Fund New York State Council on the Arts The Post-Standard Shubert Foundation Time Warner Cable Stage Benefactor ($20,000 - $24,999) National Endowment for the Arts Major Underwriters ($15,000 - $19,999) Onondaga County Residence Inn by Marriott

Student Matinee Program Stage Producer ($7,500 - $9,999) Niagara Mohawk, a National Grid Company Stage Sponsor ($5,000 - $7,499) The Grapes of Wrath Student Matinee Performances EBS Benefit Solutions Stage Manager ($1,000 - $2,499) Season Student Matinee performances Bruegger’s Bagel Bakeries Golub Foundation/PriceChopper Target Patron ($100 - $299) Whelan & Curry Construction Services)

Actor in the Classroom Program Stage Partner ($2,500 - $4,999) Time Warner Cable Patron ($100 - $299) Wood, etc...

2004 Children’s Tour The Great Peanut Butter Radio Hour Stage Partner ($2,500 - $4,999) Lockheed Martin Employees Federated Fund

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2 0 0 4 - 2 0 0 5 E D U CAT I O NA L O U T R E AC H S P O N S O R S

Stage Manager ($1,000 - $2,499) Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, Central New York Region Business Spotlight ($500 - $999) Carrier Corporation Robert D. Willis, DDS, PC, Children’s Dentistry Actors Circle ($300 - $499) Diamond & Theil Construction Co. Wegman’s

JPMorgan Chase Young Playwrights Festival Stage Leader ($10,000 - $14,999) JPMorgan Chase Foundation Business Patron ($100 - $299) Clippinger Law Offices, Smyrna Dirk Sonneborn

Actors in the Classroom 2005 Stage Partner ($2,500 - $4,999) Time Warner Cable

— Cesar E. Chavez

Nottingham Lunchtime Lecture Series

Stage Partner ($2,500 - $4,999) The Nottingham Retirement Community and Skilled Nursing Facility

The Harrison Center Outpatient Surgery Signed Interpreted Performance SeriesThe Stage Partner ($2,500 -$4,999) Harrison Center Outpatient Surgery


“We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community...Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.”

“We need to help students and parents cherish and preserve the ethnic and cultural diversity that nourishes and strengthens this community and this nation.“ — Cesar E. Chavez

Spotlight ($500 - $999) CNY Eye Care Actor's Circle ($300 - $499) Critical Link, LLC Patron ($100 - $299) Baldwin & Sutphen, LLP Delavan Art Gallery Fins & Tails Gourmet Seafood, LLC Personal Fitness, Inc. Purcell's Wallpaper & Paint Co.

Syracuse Stage 3

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Syracuse Stage 2004-2005 Study Guide education office: 443-1150 or syracusestage.org/education.html


Syracuse Stage Grapes of Wrath


If All CNY Reads events


Who’s Who


Plot synopsis


Steinbeck biography


Frank Galati and Steppenwolf play’s creators


1930’s Timeline

. .Tim . many thousands of hours 24“I have Meet Grimm

From a letter to Pascal Covici about The Grapes of Wrath manuscript, John Steinbeck, January 16, 1939 Dictionary of Literary Biography: Documentary Series: An Illustrated Chronicle Vol. 2. 296


Woody Guthrie


Banned in Kern County


The Dust Bowl


Joads in Calfornia


Migrants’ Exhibit at the MOST


Critical reaction


Meet the composer


Voices of Dissent


Classroom Discussion




Further Research

Facts about Route 66


Annotated Bibliography

Syracuse Stage 5

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Ta b l e o f C o n t e n t s

in this book, every incident has been too carefully chosen and its weight judged and fitted. The balance is there. One other thing — I am not writing a satisfying story. I've done my damnedest to rip a reader's nerves to rags, I don't want him satisfied. And still one more thing — I tried to write this book the way lives are being lived not the way books are written.“

If All CNY Reads

cusn S tt as g e S ch e d u l eS yora f eve

The Grapes of Wrath Join fellow Central New Yorkers in another celebration of reading and unity as our community explores and shares John Steinbeck's extraordinary classic The Grapes of Wrath.

Wrath. Followed by a discussion led by a faculty member of the Fayetteville Manlius High School. Manlius Library, One Arkie Albanese Drive Manlius, NY (call 682 - 6400)

ONGOING EXHIBITIONS February 4 - April 4 Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath: Bitter Fruit of the Depression Special Collections, Syracuse University E.S. Bird Library Call Kathleen Manwaring at 443-9758.

February 22 at 7:00 pm Steinbeck Visits: Actor portraying John Steinbeck visits the library in costume and character throughout to discuss The Grapes of Wrath Fayetteville Free Library, 300 Orchard St. Fayetteville (call 637-6374)

February 5 - May 30 "Coming up on the Season: Migrant Farmworkers in the Northeast." Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology An exhibit developed by the Cornell University Migrant Program. It explores the world behind the supermarket shelves. In Spanish and English. Wednesday through Sunday, 11 am to 5 pm 500 South Franklin Street, Syracuse

February 24 at 4:00 pm Syracuse University Library Associates Lecture "Reading The Grapes of Wrath: Then and February 18 deadline Now" High School Essay Contest Harvey Teres, Professor Sponsored by the Post-Standard, Friends of the of English Central Library and "If All CNY Read The Grapes of E.S. Bird Library, Wrath" Syracuse University Topic: The Grapes of Wrath is a book about human dignity, about the perserverance of human-kind in the face of adversity. Write about a time when you or someone you know faced a difficult situation and tell how you (or he or she) were able to overcome this situation. For more information call Taylor Atseff: 470-2121

March 23 - April 23 Weekdays 12 - 6 and during performances OCC's Photography Exhibit on the Depression Syracuse Stage Coyne Lobby EVENTS February 9, 6:30 - 7:30 pm Symposium: Censorship and The Grapes of Wrath Hosted by Friends of the Central Library Speakers: Joyce M. Latham, OCPL; Edward Conan; attorney; the Hon. George Lowe, U.S. Magistrate The Delavan Center for the Arts 501 West Fayette Street, Syracuse February 13 at 3 pm "A Visit from John Steinbeck and Discussion" 'John Steinbeck' will discuss his life and The Grapes of

March 6 at 3:00 pm Harvest of Shame Screening and discussion of the hard-hitting television documentary that dramatically portrays the hopelessness

of migrant farm workers. Manlius Library, One Arkie Albanese Drive Manlius, NY (call 682 - 6400) March 9 and March 10, 9 - 9 pm Photography Exhibit on the Depression Whitney Applied Technical Center Atrium Onondaga Community College March 21, 7:30 - 8:15 pm Meet members of the cast of The Grapes of Wrath Barnes and Noble, DeWitt April 6 at 12:15 pm Dr. Patrick Keane, Professor Emeritus of English at LeMoyne College and a member of the If All Of Central New York Read committee, will discuss the novel. Soule Branch Library, 101 Springfield Rd. Syracuse, NY (call 449-4300)

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James A. Clark

Robert Moss

Producing Director

Artistic Director

Janet Allen

Daniel Baker

Artistic Director

Managing Director


S y ra c u s S t a g e

The Grapes of Wrath ADAPTED BY


Frank Galati

John Steinbeck


Michael Donald Edwards MUSICAL DIRECTION BY

Tim Grimm



Scott Bradley

Bea Modern




Lap Chu Chi

Jonathan Herter

Katie Ahern


Syracuse Stage 7

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Life on the Edge Who’s Who in The Grapes of Wrath Tom Joad: The central character, he is a recently released inmate imprisoned for murder who returns home to find that his family has lost their farm and is moving west to California. Tom is a plainspoken, forthright and direct man, yet he still retains some of his violent tendencies.

I n t ro d u c t i o n

Ma Joad: The mother of Noah, Tom, Rose of Sharon, Al, Ruthie and Winfield, Ma Joad is a woman accustomed to hardship and deprivation. She is a forceful woman who is determined to keep her family together at nearly all costs. Pa Joad: Although the head of the Joad household, he is not a forceful presence. Without the ability to provide for his family, he recedes into the background. Uncle John: A morose man prone to depression and alcoholism, Uncle John believes himself to be the cause of the family's misfortune. He blames himself for the death of his wife several years ago, and has carried the guilt of that event with him. Rose of Sharon: Tom Joad's younger sister, recently married to Connie Rivers and pregnant with his child, Rose of Sharon is the one adult who retains a sense of optimism in the future. Connie Rivers: The shiftless husband of Rose of Sharon, Connie dreams of taking correspondence courses that will provide him with job opportunities and the possibility of a better life. Noah Joad: Tom's older brother, he suffers from mental disabilities that likely occurred during childbirth. Al Joad: Tom's younger brother, at sixteen years old he is concerned with cars and girls, and remains combative and truculent toward the rest of the family. Ruthie Joad: One of the two small children in the Joad family, it is Ruthie who reveals that Tom is responsible for the murder at Hooper Ranch, forcing him to leave his family to escape capture by the police. Winfield Joad: The other small child in the Joad family, Winfield becomes severely ill during the course of the novel from deprivation, but survives his illness.

Grampa Joad: An energetic, feisty old man, Grampa refuses to leave Oklahoma with the rest of his family, but is forcibly taken on the journey after he is drugged by the other family members. He dies before they cross the state line. Granma Joad: She becomes severely ill on the journey to California, and dies as they reach the state. Reverend Jim Casy: A fallen preacher who too often succumbed to temptation, Casy left the ministry when he realized that he did not believe in absolute ideas of sin. He espouses the idea that all that is holy comes from collective society, a belief that “A journey is like marhe places in riage. The certain way to practical context be wrong is to think you when, after control it.” time in jail, — John Steinbeck he becomes involved with labor activists. Muley Graves: Muley is a crazy elderly man who reveals to Tom Joad the fate of his family. The Mayor: He is a half-crazed old migrant worker driven “bull-simple” from the police’s continued torture. Floyd Knowles: He befriends Al Joad and tells the Joad family about work opportunities and the government camp at Weedpatch. Wilkie Wallace: A Weedpatch camp resident who takes Tom to find work when they arrive at the government camp. Aggie Wainwright: She is the young woman to whom Al Joad becomes engaged. Other characters include a car salesman, the camp proprietor, salesman, the gas station attendant, narrators, agricultural officers, the man in the barn and his son and musicians. Some roles are double cast.

Syracuse Stage 2004-2005 Study Guide education office: 443-1150 or syracusestage.org/education.html


Journey Along Route 66 Plot synopsis


The next morning when they are about to leave, Granpa refuses to go. The family has to get him drunk in order to force him to go. But Granpa dies shortly after they leave. In Arizona, they stop by a river and are hassled by a policeman. Noah decides to stay at the river and no one can change his mind. Crossing California’s border, Granma dies and the family has to bury her a pauper since they are out of money. In California, they stop at a camp filled with other migrants. There they meet Floyd Knowles who explains to them that there is no work and the wages are down. Connie and Rose talk about their future and he leaves the tent, never to return. During the evening, an employer comes to the camp promising work. Floyd, however, knows the system and that the employer is trying to get a lot of workers so he can lower the wages. The employer comes prepared with a police officer who tries to arrest Floyd. A fight ensues. Everyone runs except Casy who turns himself in as the troublemaker. The officer threatens to burn down the camp at night. The Joads leave that night, traveling south to a government camp. In the morning, Tom gets a job digging ditches for pipes. Their employer warns them that some people are going to cause trouble in the camp at the dance. Work runs out, so once again the Joads have to move. They find a peach harvest. In the night, Tom sneaks out and finds Casy and others on strike to raise wages.

The Joads decide that it’s too dangerous for Tom, so they decide to leave the orchard and find another place to work while Tom is in hiding. At a cotton field that needs picking, they begin working while living in a boxcar shared with the Wainwrights. Al falls in love with Agnes Wainwright and they plan to marry. It rains for several days and floods the “The Grapes of Wrath is said by valley. Some many to be Steinbeck's mastermen try to piece. Its power lies not only in its divert the searing portrait of Dust Bowl poverwater by ty if it were merely a historical tract about 1930s it would not sell over building a 150,000 copies a year. It is also the dyke but it story of the migration of a people. breaks when It echoes Exodus. And it is the story a falling tree of a family disintegrating; of how crashes power shifts from patriarchy to through it. matriarchy; of what freedom means. Meanwhile, It is about two key relationships. Rose of One is between Tom Joad and Jim Sharon goes Casy, the preacher, looking for spiriinto labor tual meaning outside the church. but gives Tom is his pupil, and Casy guides birth to a Tom in his own rebirth into social dead baby. commitment. But equally important is the relationship between Ma Joad Having surand her self-absorbed daughter, vived the Rose of Sharon. Like Tom, she must flood, the learn to look beyond herself. The family novel is thus a plea for empathy searches for and understanding, as well as an higher indictment of a system that left so ground. In a many destitute in a land where barn they excess oranges were dumped in meet a boy rivers in order to keep prices inflatand his starved.” ing father. San Jose State University The boy explains that the man gave up his food to keep the boy healthy. The man can’t digest even bread. Rose of Sharon decides to feed her breast milk to the man as the play ends.

Syracuse Stage 9

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I n t ro d u c t i o n

he farmers live in a world of dust, making little money until the bank forces them off the land. In this bleak world enters a newly released prisoner, Tom Joad. Walking toward his house, he meets Casy, a former preacher who is sitting under a tree. They begin to talk and Tom explains that he was in prison for killing a person that pulled a knife on him. They walk together to Tom’s house but finds that it is deserted. A friend, Muley Graves, tells them that the Joads moved to Uncle John’s house and are planning to move west to California. Tom’s relatives, Granpa and Granma, Ma and Pa (also named Tom Joad), Tom’s parents, Noah, Rose of Sharon, Al, Ruthie and Winfield, Tom’s brother’s and sisters, Connie, Rose of Sharon’s husband, and Uncle John were planning on leaving without him.

People come by to break up the strike calling the strikers Reds (communists). Casey is killed, and Tom retaliates. He’s injured, but he evades his pursuers and makes it back to camp.

John Steinbeck 1902-1968

M e e t tShyeraacuutshSot ra g e


ohn Steinbeck was born in the farming town of Salinas, California, on February 27, 1902. His father, John Ernst Steinbeck moved from job to job. For a time, he was the manager of a Sperry flour plant, the owner of a feed and grain store; the treasurer of Monterey County. His mother, Olive Hamilton Steinbeck, was a former teacher. As a child growing up in the fertile Salinas Valley, called the "Salad Bowl of the Nation,” Steinbeck formed a deep appreciation of his environment. "I remember my childhood names for grasses and secret flowers," he wrote in the opening chapter of East of Eden. "I remember where a toad may live and what time the birds awaken in the summer and what trees and seasons smelled like." The observant, shy but often mischievous only son had, for the most part, a happy childhood growing up with two older sisters, Beth and Esther, and a much-adored younger sister, Mary. Never wealthy, the family was nonetheless prominent in the small town of 3000. By the time he was 14, he decided to be a writer. He spent hours writing stories and poems in his bedroom. To please his parents, in 1919 he enrolled at Stanford University. The President of the English Club said that Steinbeck, who regularly attended meetings to read his stories aloud, "had no other interests or talents that I could make out. He was a writer, but he was that and nothing else.” From 1919 to 1925, when he left Stanford without taking a degree, Steinbeck dropped in and out of the University, sometimes to work closely with migrants on California ranches. He briefly tried construction work

and newspaper reporting in New York City, and then returned to his native state in order to hone his craft. In the late 1920s, during a three-year stint as a caretaker for a Lake Tahoe estate, he wrote several drafts of his first novel, Cup of Gold (1929), about the pirate Henry Morgan, and met the woman who would become his first wife, Carol Henning. After their marriage in 1930, he and Carol settled, rent-free, into the Steinbeck family's summer cottage in Pacific Grove, she to search for jobs to support them, he to write. During the decade of the 1930s Steinbeck wrote most of his best California fiction: His conviction that characters must be seen in the context of their environments remained constant throughout his career. He wrote of an interrelated world, where species and the environment interacted, where commensal bonds between people, among families, acknowledged nature. By 1933, Steinbeck had found his terrain; had chiseled a naturalistic prose style about those on the edges of polite society. Steinbeck's California fiction, from To a God Unknown to East of Eden (1952) envisions the dreams and defeats of common people shaped by the environments they inhabit. It was at this time he met Ed Ricketts, an amateur marine biologist. He was Steinbeck's mentor, his alter ego, and his soul mate. That 18-year friendship shows up continously in Steinbeck’s writing. In most of his fiction Steinbeck includes a Doc figure, a wise observer of life who epitomizes the idealized stance of the nonteleological thinker: Doc Burton in In Dubious Battle, Slim in Of Mice and Men, Casy in The Grapes of Wrath, Lee in East of Eden, and of course Doc himself in Cannery Row (1945) and the sequel, the rollicking Sweet Thursday (1954). All see broadly and truly and empathetically. Steinbeck's writing style as well as his social consciousness of the 1930s was also shaped by an equally compelling figure in his life, his wife Carol. She helped edit his prose, urged him to cut the Latinate phrases, typed his manuscripts, suggested titles, and offered ways to restructure. In 1935, having finally published his first popular success with tales of Monterey's paisanos, Tortilla Flat, Steinbeck, goaded by Carol, attended a few meetings of nearby Carmel's John Reed Club. Although he found the group's zealotry distasteful, he, like so

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John Steinbeck continued

many intellectuals of the 1930s, was drawn to the communists' sympathy for the working man. He set out to write a "biography of a strikebreaker." His interviews turned from biography to fiction, writing one of the best strike novels of the 20th century, In Dubious Battle.

Exhausted by his research, Steinbeck retreated to Ed Ricketts. He wanted to study seriously marine biology and to plan a collecting trip to the Sea of Cortez. The text Steinbeck and Ricketts published in 1941, Sea of Cortez (reissued in 1951 without Ricketts's catalogue of species as The Log from the Sea of Cortez), tells the story of the expedition.

His next novel intensified popular debate about Steinbeck's gritty subjects, his uncomproAWARDS & HONORS mising sympathy for 1935 - Commonwealth Club of California Gold Medal for the disenfranchised, Best Novel by a Californian (Tortilla Flat) and his "crass" lan1936 - Commonwealth Club of California Gold Medal for guage. The Grapes of Best Novel by a Californian (In Dubious Battle) Wrath sold out an 1938 - New York Drama Critics' Circle Award (Of Mice & advance edition of Men) 19,804 by mid-April 1939 - Member of National Institute of Arts and Letters-1939; was selling American Booksellers' Award 10,000 copies a week 1940 - Pulitzer Prize Fiction Award (The Grapes of Wrath) by early May; and 1946 - King Haakon Liberty Cross (The Moon is Down) won the Pulitzer 1948 - Member of American Academy of Arts and Letters Prize for the year 1962 - Nobel Prize for Literature (1940). Published at 1963 - Honorary Consultant in American Literature to the the apex of the Library of Congress Depression, the book 1964 - United States Medal of Freedom about dispossessed - Trustee of John F. Kennedy Memorial Library farmers captured the - Annual Paperback of the Year Award decade's angst as - Press Medal of Freedom well as the nation's 1966 - Member of the National Arts Council legacy of fierce indi1979 - US Postal Service issued a John Steinbeck vidualism, visionary Commemorative Stamp prosperity, and deter1983 - Steinbeck Center Foundation started in Salinas, CA mined westward 1984 - American Arts Gold Medallion of Steinbeck issued movement. It was by the US Mint informed in part by 1993 - Steinbeck Center Foundation opens interim headdocumentary zeal, in quarters part by Steinbeck's 1997 - National Steinbeck Center groundbreaking ability to trace mythic 1998 - National Steinbeck Center grand opening (June and biblical patterns. 27, 1998)

Steinbeck was determined to participate in World War II, first doing patriotic work (The Moon Is Down, 1942, a play-novelette about an occupied northern European country, and Bombs Away, 1942, a portrait of bomber trainees) and then going overseas for the New York Herald Tribune as a war correspondent. In his war dispatches he wrote about the neglected corners of war that many journalists missed-life at a British bomber station or the allure of Bob Hope. These columns were later collected in Once There Was a War (1958). Steinbeck often felt misunderstood by book reviewers and critics, and their barbs rankled the sensitive writer. A humorous text such as Cannery Row seemed fluff to many. Steinbeck faltered both pro-

Syracuse Stage 11

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Meet the author

At the height of his powers, Steinbeck followed with two books that round out what might be called his labor trilogy, Of Mice and Men and Grapes of Wrath. The books are a tightly-drafted study of blindestiffs through whose dreams he wanted to represent the universal longings for a home. Both the text and the critically-acclaimed 1937 Broadway play of Mice and Men (which won the Drama Critics Circle Award for best play that year) made Steinbeck a household name.

Lauded by critics nationwide for its scope and intensity, The Grapes of Wrath attracted an equally vociferous minority opinion. Oklahomans said that the dispossessed Joad's story was a "dirty, lying, filthy manuscript" in the words of Congressman Lyle Boren. Californians claimed the novel was a scourge on the state's munificence, and an indignant Kern County banned the book well into World War II. The righteous attacked the book's language or its crass gestures.

John Steinbeck continued

M e e t tShyeraacuutshSot ra g e

Steinbeck’s Novels Cup of Gold (1929) The Pastures of Heaven (1932) The Red Pony (1933) To A God Unknown (1933) Tortilla Flat (1935) In Dubious Battle (1936) Nothing So Monstrous (1936) Of Mice and Men (1937) The Long Valley (1938) The Grapes of Wrath (1939) The Forgotten Village (1941) Log from the Sea of Cortez (1941) Bombs Away (1942) The Moon Is Down (1942) Cannery Row (1945) The Wayward Bus (1947) The Pearl (1948) A Russian Journal (1948) Burning Bright (1950) East of Eden (1952) Sweet Thursday (1954) The Short Reign of Pippin IV (1957) Once There Was A War (1958) The Winter of Our Discontent (1961) Travels With Charley: In Search of America (1962) The World of Li'l Abner (1965) (with Charles Chaplin) Viva Zapata (1975) The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights \ (1976) Zapata (1992) Nonfiction Personal and Bibliographical Notes (1939) America and Americans (1966) In Touch (1969) Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters (1969) The Harvest Gypsies: On the Road to the Grapes of Wrath (1988) Working Days: The Journals of the Grapes of Wrath, 1938-1941 (1989) Of Men and Their Making: The Selected NonFiction of John Steinbeck (2002)

fessionally and personally in the 1940s. He divorced Carol in 1943. That same year he moved east with his second wife, Gwyndolyn Conger. With Gwyn, Steinbeck had two sons, Thom and John, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1948. That same year Steinbeck was numbed by Ed Ricketts's death. Only with concentrated work on a filmscript on the life of Emiliano Zapata for Elia Kazan's film Viva Zapata! (1952) would Steinbeck gradually chart a new course. In 1949 he met and in 1950 married his third wife, Elaine Scott, and with her he moved again to New York City, where he lived for the rest of his life. Much of the pain and reconciliation of those late years of the 1940s were worked out in two subsequent novels: his third play-novelette Burning Bright (1950), a boldly experimental parable about a man's acceptance of his wife's child fathered by another man, and in the largely autobiographical work he'd contemplated since the 1930s, East of Eden (1952). "It is what I have been practicing to write all of my life," he wrote to painter Bo Beskow early in 1948, when he first began research for a novel about his native valley and his people. With Viva Zapata!, East of Eden, Burning Bright and later The Winter of Our Discontent (1961), Steinbeck's fiction becomes less concerned with the behavior of groups-what he called in the 1930s "group man" and more focused on an individual's moral responsibility to self and community. Similar to The Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden is a defining point in his career. During the 1950s and 1960s the perpetually "restless" Steinbeck traveled extensively throughout the world with his third wife, Elaine. In the fiction of his last two decades, however, Steinbeck never ceased to take risks, to stretch his conception of the novel's structure, to experiment with the sound and form of language. Sweet Thursday, sequel to Cannery Row, was written as a musical comedy that would resolve Ed Ricketts's loneliness by sending him off into the sunset with a true love, Suzy, whore with a gilded heart. The musical version by Rodgers and Hammerstein, Pipe Dream, was one of the team's few failures. In 1957 he published the satiric The Short Reign of Pippin IV, a tale about the French monarchy gaining ascendan-

Syracuse Stage 2004-2005 Study Guide education office: 443-1150 or syracusestage.org/education.html


John Steinbeck continued cy. And in 1961, he published his last work of fiction, The Winter of Our Discontent, a novel about contemporary America set in a fictionalized Sag Harbor (where he and Elaine had a summer home). He had grown increasingly disillusioned with American greed and waste.

But the writer John Steinbeck was not silenced. As always, he wrote reams of letters to his many friends and associates. In the 1950s and 1960s he published scores of journalistic pieces: "Making of a New Yorker," "I Go Back to Ireland," columns about the 1956 national political conventions, and "Letters to Alicia," a controversial series about a 1966 White Houseapproved trip to Vietnam where his sons were stationed. In the late 1950s-and intermittently for the rest of his life he worked diligently on a modern English translation of a book he had loved since childhood, Sir Thomas Malory's Morte d'Arthur; the unfinished project was published posthumously as The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights (1976). Immediately after completing Winter, the ailing novelist proposed "not a little trip of reporting," he wrote to his agent Elizabeth Otis, "but a frantic last attempt to save my life and the integrity of my creativity pulse." In 1960, he toured America, with his dog Charley, in a camper truck designed to his specifications, and on his return published the highly praised Travels with Charley in Search of America (1962), another book that both celebrates American individuals and decries American hypocrisy; the climax of his journey is his visit to the New Orleans "cheerleaders" who daily taunted black children newly registered in white schools. His disenchantment with American waste, greed, immorality and racism ran deep. His last published book, America and Americans (1966), reconsiders the American character, the land, the racial crisis, and the seemingly crumbling morality of the American people.

As an artist, he was a ceaseless experimenter with words and form, and often critics did not see quite what he was up to. He claimed his books had layers, yet many claimed his symbolic touch was cumbersome. He loved humor and warmth, but some said he slopped over into sentimentalism. He was, and is now recognized as, an environmental writer. He was an intellectual, passionately interested in his odd little inventions, in jazz, in politics, in philosophy, history, and myth. All said, Steinbeck remains one of America's most significant 20th-century writers, whose popularity spans the world, whose range is impressive, whose output was prodigious: 16 novels, a collection of short stories, four screenplays (The Forgotten Village, The Red Pony, Viva Zapata!, Lifeboat), a sheaf of journalistic essaysincluding four collections (Bombs Away, Once There Was a War, America and Americans, The Harvest Gypsies) three travel narratives (Sea of Cortez, A Russian Journal, Travels with Charley), a translation and two published journals (more remain unpublished). Three "play-novelettes" ran on Broadway: Of Mice and Men, The Moon Is Down, and Burning Bright, as did the musical Pipe Dream. Whatever his "experiment" in fiction or journalistic prose, he wrote with empathy, clarity, perspicuity: "In every bit of honest writing in the world," he noted in a 1938 journal entry, "...there is a base theme. Try to understand men, if you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and nearly always leads to love." - by Susan Shillinglaw director, Center for Steinbeck studies San Jose State University

Syracuse Stage 13

2004-2005 Study Guide education office: 443-1150 or syracusestage.org/education.html

Meet the author

The following year, 1962, Steinbeck was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature; the day after the announcement the New York Times ran an editorial by the influential Arthur Mizener, "Does a Writer with a Moral Vision of the 1930s Deserve the Nobel Prize?" Wounded by the blindside attack, unwell, frustrated and disillusioned, John Steinbeck wrote no more fiction.

In these late years, in fact since his final move to New York in 1950, many accused John Steinbeck of increasing conservatism. The man who spent a lifetime "whipping" his sluggard will (read Working Days: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath [1989] for biting testimony of the struggle) felt intolerance for 1960s protesters whose zeal, in his eyes, was unfocused and whose anger was explosive, not turned to creative solutions. But it is far more accurate to say that the author who wrote The Grapes of Wrath never retreated into conservatism. He lived in modest houses all his life, caring little for lavish displays of power or wealth.

Frank Galati

S e t t i n gS ytra h ec us tsaSgt ae g e



for Best Direction of a Play and the other for Best Play. He also won the prestigious Outer Critics Circle Award and the Drama Desk Award.

He has earned national and international acclaim for his work as adaptor and director of The Grapes of Wrath, which won him two Tony Awards in 1989, one

In 2000 he was made a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

rank Galati is professor of Performance Studies at Northwestern, Associate Director of the Goodman Theatre and ensemble member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Professor Galati's teaching and creative interests are in the area of presentational aesthetics, with special interests in modern literature. He is a professional actor, director, screenwriter, and playwright.

In 1989, he was nominated by both the British Academy Awards and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for outstanding achievement in the category of best adapted screenplay for The Accidental Tourist. He directed the critically acclaimed production of Ragtime, which has played in Toronto, Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago.

STEPPENWOLF THEATRE COMPANY The company is a Chicago-based international performing arts institution committed to ensemble collaboration and artistic risk through its work with its permanent ensemble, guest artists, partner institutions and the community. Steppenwolf has redefined the landscape of acting and Awards performance by spawning a generation of America's most gifted artists. Founded in 1976 as an ensemble of nine 1990 Tony Award速 Best Play actors, Steppenwolf has grown into an internationally renowned company of thirty-five artists whose talents 1990 Tony Award速 Best Featured Actor in a include acting, directing, playwriting, filmmaking, and Play textual adaptation. No other American theater ensemble Terry Kinney [nominee] has survived as long and thrived as much as the Gary Sinise [nominee] Steppenwolf company of artists. Members include: Joan Allen, a Tony-winner for Steppenwolf's Burn This and nominee for The Heidi Chronicles. She appeared in numerous films and was nominated for an Oscar for her role in The Contender. Gary Cole, known for his role in The West Wing, Office Space, and his turn as Mike Brady in The Brady Bunch films.

Noteable cast Gary Sinese (Forrest Gump and CSI NY) played Tom Joad Skip Sudduth (Sully on Third Watch) played a variety of roles.

John Mahoney. His awards include a Tony Award for The House of Blue Leaves and an Emmy Award for Frasier. John Malkovich received Academy Award nominations for Places in the Heart and In the Line of Fire.

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1930: Photo flashbulbs replace dangerous flash powder. 1935: John Steinbeck attains reputation with Tortilla Flat, stories about California. 1930: Nancy Drew starts solving mysteries in novels for 1936: William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! examines girls. Southern attitudes toward race. 1930: "Golden Age" of radio begins in U.S. 1936: Electric guitars. 1930: A more practical, affordable car radio goes on 1936: Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind may be sale. most popular novel ever. 1930: Grant Wood paints American Gothic. 1936: BBC starts world's first television service, three 1930: Sinclair Lewis becomes the first American to win hours a day. the Nobel Prize in Literature. 1936: The March of Time is honored for its newsreels. 1931: Scotch Tape. 1936: 33 million radio sets in the U.S. 1931: Scrabble. 1937: George Stibitz of Bell Labs invents the electrical 1931: Radios sit in two of every five U.S. homes. digital calculator. 1931: Salvador Dali's painting, Persistence of Memory. 1937: Decades of reporting pay off with passage of 1931: In Berlin, lone genius Konrad Zuse invents a child labor law. computer, but is ignored. 1937: NBC has 111 affiliate stations; CBS has 105. 1931: Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie, 1937: More than half of all American homes now boast eventually a classic, is published. a radio. 1931: “The Star Spangled Banner� becomes U.S. 1937: J.R.R. Tolkien opens up a fantasy world with his national anthem. novel, The Hobbit. 1932: Disney adopts a three-color Technicolor process 1938: Radio broadcasts can be taped and edited. for cartoons. 1938: 50 million radio sets in the U.S. 1933: Dorothy Day founds The Catholic Worker, sup1938: The first full-length animated film, Disney's Snow ports pacifism, social causes. White and the Seven Dwarfs. 1934: On Broadway, Cole Porter's musical, Anything 1938: Two brothers named Biro invent the ballpoint pen Goes opens. in Argentina. 1934: Benny Goodman on 1938: More than 80 NBC's Let's Dance starts million movie tickets big band swing era on FACTS about this decade. (65% of population) radio. Population: 123,188,000 in 48 states sold in U.S. each 1934: Half of the homes in Life Expectancy: Male, 58.1; Female, 61.6 week. the U.S. have radios. Average salary: $1,368 1939: Rudolph, the 1935: Howard Armstrong Unemployment rises to 25% Red-Nosed Reindeer, introduces FM radio, but its Huey Long propses a guaranteed annual income of joins the Christmas fesreal future is 15 years off. $2,500 tivities. 1935: IBM's electric typeCar Sales: 2,787,400 1939: Regular elecwriter comes off the assemFood Prices: Milk, 14 cents a qt.; Bread, 9 cents a tronic U.S. TV broadbly line. loaf; Round Steak, 42 cents a pound casts begin. 1935: First telephone call Lynchings: 21 1939: Air mail service made around the world. across the Atlantic. 1935: Kodachrome is the 1939: Movies: The first successful amateur Wizard of Oz, Gone color film. with the Wind 1935: Two-way speaker system becomes a standard for 1939: John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath, describes cinemas. Dust Bowl migration. 1935: Tweeter and woofer reduce loudspeaker distor1939: Pocket Books enters paperback market. tion.

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Setting the stage

1 . H a l l owe e n A l a s k a

1930s Timeline

Woody Guthrie Balladier of the Dust Bowl

S y ra c u s S t a g e Setting the stage


oodrow Wilson Guthrie was born on July 14, 1912, in Okemah, Oklahoma, the second-born son to Charles and Nora Belle Guthrie. His father was a cowboy, land speculator, and local politician. A keen observer of the world around him, during his early years in Oklahoma, Woody experienced the first in a series of tragic personal losses the death of his older sister, Clara would haunt him throughout his life. This was followed by the financial and physical ruin of his family and the institutionalization of his mother. These events would devastate Woody's family and home, forming a uniquely wry and rambling outlook.

or Lefty Lou, wide public attention, while providing him with a forum from which he could develop his talent for controversial social commentary and criticism on topics ranging from corrupt politicians, lawyers, and businessmen to praising the humanist principles of Jesus Christ, Pretty Boy Floyd, and Union organizers. In 1939 Woody headed east for New York City, where he was embraced for his Steinbeckian homespun wisdom and musical "authenticity" by leftist organizations, artists, writers, musicians, and other intellectuals. Lead Belly, Cisco Houston, Burl Ives, Pete Seeger, Will Geer, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, Josh White, Millard Lampell, Bess Hawes, Sis Cunningham, among others, became Woody's friends and collaborators, tak-

In 1931, when Okemah's boomtown period went bust, Woody left for Texas. In the panhandle town of Pampa, he fell in love and married Mary Jennings in 1933, the younger sister of a friend and musician named Matt Jennings. It was with Matt Jennings and Cluster Baker that Woody made his first attempt at a career, forming The Corn Cob Trio. However, if the Great Depression made it hard to support his family, the Great Dust Storm, which hit the Great Plains in 1935, made it impossible. Due to the lack of work, and driven by a search for a better life, Woody headed west along with the mass migration of "dust bowl refugees" known as "Okies." Moneyless and hungry, Woody hitchhiked, rode freight trains, and even walked to California, developing a love for traveling on the open road. By the time he arrived in California, in 1937, Woody had experienced the intense scorn, hatred, and antagonism of resident Californians who were opposed to the influx of outsiders. Woody's identification with outsider status would become part and parcel of his political and social positioning, one which gradually worked its way into his songwriting, as evident in his Dust Bowl ballads such as I Ain't Got No Home, Goin' Down the Road Feelin' Bad, Talking Dust Bowl Blues, Tom Joad and Hard Travelin'. His 1937 radio broadcasts brought Woody and his new singing partner, Maxine Crissman

Photo courtesy of the Woody Guthrie Foundation and Archives

Woody Guthrie portrait c. 1943 by Robin Carson ing up social causes and fighting for the things they believed in the only way they knew how: through politcontinued

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Woody Guthrie continued Glory generally received critical acclaim. One of their four children is the singer Arlo Guthrie.

ical songs of protest.

Woody received an invitation to go to Oregon, where a documentary film project about the building of the Grand Coulee Dam sought to use his songwriting talent. The Bonneville Power Authority placed Woody on the Federal payroll for a month. There he composed The Columbia River Songs. In 1945, Guthrie married Marjorie Mazia, a Martha Graham dancer, enabling him to complete and publish his first novel, Bound for Glory, in 1943. A semi-autobiographical account of his Dust Bowl years, Bound for

Moved by his passion against fascism, during World War II, Woody served in both the Merchant Marine and the Army. In 1946, Woody Guthrie returned to settle in Coney Island, New York, with his wife and children. It was during this time that Woody composed Songs to Grow On, a collection of children's songs. He eventually left home and after becoming more unpredictable during a final series of road trips, Woody eventually returned to New York. After several bad diagnosis, he learned he had Huntington's Chorea, the degenerative disease which would gradually and eventually rob him of all his health and talents. This was the disease which had forced his mother's institutionalization. He struggled with the disease until he died in Queens, New York, on October 3, 1967.

AIN'T GOT NO HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE I ain't got no home, I'm just a-ramblin' round I'm just a wandrin' worker, I roam from town to town. The police make it hard wherever I may go And I ain't got no home in this world anymore. My brothers and my sisters are stranded on this road A hot and dusty road that a million feet done trod; Rich man took my home and drove me from my door And I ain't got no home in this world anymore. Was a-farmin' on the share, and always I was poor My crops I laid into the banker's store; My wife took down and died upon the cabin floor And I ain't got no home in this world anymore. Now as I look round, it's mighty plain to see The world is such a great and a funny place to be; The gamblin' man is rich and the workin' man is poor And I ain't got no home in this world anymore. Woody Guthrie

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Setting the stage

Woody Guthrie continued to write songs and perform with the Almanac Singers, the politically radical singing group of the late 1940s, some of whose members would later re-form as the Weavers, the most commercially successful and influential folk music group of the late 1940s and early 1950s. The Almanacs helped to establish folk music as a viable commercial entity.

Banned Censorship and The Grapes of Wrath “GRAPES OF WRATH BANNED IN KERN COUNTY”

raec sutsaSgt ea g e S e t t i n gS yt h

By Elise Palos Californian Historian June 1994 (Editor’s note: In the 1993 State level competition in History Day in California, the author received the Heilbron Award given to the California Historical Society for this paper. At the time she was a junior at East Bakersfield High School.)

When John Steinbeck's novel The Grapes of Wrath was published in 1939, it caused an uproar in this nation. The inside cover of the novel states, "It electrified an America still convalescing ideas that many people were, at the least, uncomfortable with this electricity caused the Kern County Board of Supervisors to ban the book in the county's public schools and libraries on August 22, 1939.

Despite the denials of those who felt they were falsely portrayed by Steinbeck, there are those who were there that say it is true. When asked by Kathi Durham on March 9, 1981 if Steinbeck's portrayal of the treatment of the farm workers was accurate. Eua1 Murmduke Stone said, "Oh, they treated them like dogs, they was treated like dogs. They only wanted them to get their crops picked." Stone could be considered an "Okie," since he moved from Oklahoma to California in 1929. Also, Mary DeArmond, a Bakersfield High and East Bakersfield High School teacher from 1938 to 1943, stated. "It (The Grapes of Wrath) was all true.

The Grapes of Wrath was mostly set in Kern County, California and illustrated the corporate landowners cruelty towards the "exploited agricultural workers. These agricultural workers were usually derogatorily called "Okies," because most of them had migrated from Oklahoma. Others came from Arkansas, Kansas, and New Mexico. After the years of drought in the area that became known as the Dust Bowl and after they were thrown off their land, these farmers moved to California to start a new life, hoping to own their land. However, their luck was not as large as their hope and many were left homeless and unemployed.

Even though the Associated Farmers and the Board of Supervisors couldn't get the unfair and untrue rap to stick, they tried to convince the county they were banning The Grapes of Wrath because of the book's obscenity. W.B. Camp explained. "We are angry, not because we were attacked but because we were attacked by a book obscene in the extreme sense of the word..." Kern County supervisor Stanley Abel defended the board by saying on August 28, 1939, "The book was banned because of the filth that is in it. True, there were "dirty words" throughout the book, as most people would call them today but the characters in this novel were not exactly the most refined and educated. Besides, didn't the board's resolution banning the book state that it misrepresented conditions in the county? Which one was the true, motivating reason'?

According to Steinbeck's novel, this was because the California landowners barely paid the workers enough to live on. Apparently, this offended some of Kern County's citizens, especially the Associated Farmers of Kern County. They completely supported the Board of Supervisors' resolution that stated the novel "misrepresented conditions in the county and the whole San Joaquin Valley and blamed the local farmers for the plight of the indigent farmers. The group also solicited other organizations in the valley for support. W.B. Camp, a prominent rancher of the time and president of the Associated Farmers, said that his organization would "fight to remove the 'smear' on the good name of Kern, the state of California and agriculture.

Whether or not the book stated untruths or was obscene, there were many Kern County residents who believed the ban was a threat to the First Amendment, including organizations like the National Council of Freedom from Censorship and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Raymond W. Henderson, representative of the Kern County branch of the ACLU, did not believe The Grapes of Wrath should be given to school children and that the ACLU wasn't interested in the truth of the book, but said, "What we do protest is a public board setting itself up as a board of censorship in violation of the first amendment of the federal Constitution. Vernon Bell, a Kern County resident durcontinued

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Banned continued ing the ban, declared when asked about The Grapes of Wrath, "Censorship is a threat to our way of American life.

The Grapes of Wrath has come a long way in Kern County. It is now ironic to think what once left a bitter taste in California's mouth, became "the most popular book in America." Some critics call it "... the greatest fictional work of a generation." It just goes to show, censorship can't stop an "electrifying" novel.

John Steinbeck in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech.

“For myself I don't like anything personal to intrude on this or any other book but this one in particular. I think a book should be itself, complete and in print. What went into the writing of it is no business of the reader. I disapprove of having my crabbed hand exposed. The fact that my writing is small may be a marvel but it is also completely unimportant to the book. No, I want this book to be itself with no history and no writer.� --John Steinbeck in a letter to Pascal Covici about The Grapes of Wrath manuscript February 1939

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Setting the stage

Finally, after a year and a half, the Kern County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to cancel the ban in January of 1941. However, the book wasn't allowed to be used in the Kern High School District until 1972, when Bell requested to teach it to his classes at East Bakersfield High School. Now it is taught every year. Hopefully, Kern County students and others will now understand what it was like to truthfully be an "Okie" in California, despite the once strong protests of the landowners. Steinbeck did us all a great favor by communicating the truth.

"The writer is charged with exposing our many grievous faults and failures for the purpose of improvement ... Furthermore, the writer is delegated to declare and celebrate Man's proven capacity for greatness of heart and spirit - for gallantry in defeat, and for courage, compassion and love."

The Dust Bowl How the Joad’s fortunes fell

S e t t i n gS yt ra h ec us tsaSgt ae g e


he Dust Bowl of the 1930s lasted about a decade. Its primary area of impact was on the southern Plain States. Drought, windblown dust and agricultural decline plagued a once fertile area. The agricultural devastation helped to lengthen the Depression whose effects were felt worldwide. This prompted an exodus of people to California. John Steinbeck wrote in The Grapes of Wrath: "And then the dispossessed were drawn west from Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico; from Nevada and Arkansas, families, tribes, dusted out, tractored out. Carloads, caravans, homeless and hungry; twenty thousand and fifty thousand and a hundred thousand and two hundred thousand. They streamed over the mountains, hungry and restless restless as ants, scurrying to find work to do to lift, to push, to pull, to pick, to cut anything, any burden to bear, for food. The kids are hungry. We got no place to live. Like ants scurrying for work, for food, and most of all for land." Poor agricultural practices and years of sustained drought caused the Dust Bowl. Plains grasslands had been deeply plowed and planted to wheat. During the years when there was adequate rainfall, the land produced bountiful crops. But as the droughts of the early 1930s deepened, the farmers kept plowing and planting even though nothing would grow.

Over the ensuing years, the ground cover that held the soil in place blew away. The Plains winds whipped across the fields raising billowing clouds of dust to the skies. The skies could darken for days, and even the most wellsealed homes could have a thick layer of dust on furniture. In some places the dust would drift like snow, covering farmsteads. http://www.usd.edu/anth/epa/dust.html Farmers abandoned their land when the drought and dust storms showed no signs of letting up. Others were forced out when banks foreclosed on their land. In all, one-quarter of the population left, packing everything they owned into their cars and trucks, and headed west toward California. Although three out of four farmers stayed on their land, the mass exodus depleted the population in certain areas. In the area outside Boise City,

Oklahoma, the population dropped forty percent, with 1,642 small farmers and their families pulling up stakes.

See a video of a dust storm during the dust bowl: www.ksu.edu/vids.dust002.mpg Warning, it might take a while to load.

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The Dust Bowl continued

John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath, New York, NY (Viking Critical Library), 1972, p. 317 (originally published in 1939) www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/dustbowl/peopleevents/pandeAMEX08.html

He [Woody Guthrie] wrote a song that summer [1938] called "Dust Bowl Refugees," which was a term he hated .... Often, he introduced the song by saying, "You know, there are different kinds of refugees. There are people who are forced to take refuge under a railroad bridge because they ain't got noplace else to go, and there are those who take refuge in public office ..." He had learned not to joke about the people who lived under railroad bridges, but he hadn't lost his sense of humor. Joe Klein, Woody Guthrie: A Life, London, 1981,

I'm a dust bowl refugee, Just a dust bowl refugee, From that dust bowl to the peach bowl, Now that peach fuzz is a-killin' me. 'Cross the mountains to the sea, Come the wife and kids and me. It's a hot old dusty highway For a dust bowl refugee. Hard, it's always been that way Here today and on our way Down that mountain, 'cross the desert, Just a dust bowl refugee. We are ramblers, so they say, We are only here today, Then we travel with the seasons, We're the dust bowl refugees. From the south land and the drought land, Come the wife and kids and me, And this old world is a hard world For a dust bowl refugee. Yes, we ramble and we roam And the highway that's our home, It's a never-ending highway For a dust bowl refugee. Yes, we wander and we work In your crops and in your fruit, Like the whirlwinds on the desert That's the dust bowl refugees. I'm a dust bowl refugee, I'm a dust bowl refugee, And I wonder will I always Be a dust bowl refugee?

Lyrics as recorded by Woody Guthrie, RCA Studios, Camden, NJ, 26 April 1940 Transcribed by Manfred Helfert © 1960 Ludlow Music Inc., New York, NY

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Setting the stage

And then the dispossessed were drawn west — from Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico; from Nevada and Arkansas families, tribes, dusted out, tractored out. Carloads, caravans, homeless and hungry; twenty thousand and fifty thousand and a hundred thousand and two hundred thousand. They streamed over the mountains, hungry and restless — restless as ants, scurrying to find work to do — to lift, to push, to pull, to pick, to cut — anything, any burden to bear, for food. The kids are hungry. We got no place to live.

A Migrant’s Life The Joads in California

S y ra c u s S t a g e Setting the stage


he Dust Bowl exodus was the largest migration in American history. By 1940, 2.5 million people had moved out of the Plains states; of those, 200,000 moved to California. When they reached the border, they did not receive a warm welcome, as described in this 1935 excerpt from Collier's Magazine. "Very erect and primly severe, [a man] addressed the slumped driver of a rolling wreck that screamed from every hinge, bearing and coupling. 'California's relief rolls are overcrowded now. No use to come farther,' he cried. The half-collapsed driver ignored him merely turned his head to be sure his numerous family was still with him. They were so tightly wedged in, that escape was impossible. 'There really is nothing for you here,' the neat trooperish young man went on. 'Nothing, really nothing.' And the forlorn man io the moaning car looked at him, dull, emotionless, incredibly weary, and said: 'So? Well, you ought to see what they got where I come from.' " The Los Angeles police chief went so far as to send 125 policemen to act as bouncers at the state border. Called "the bum brigade," by the press and the object of a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union, the LAPD posse was recalled only when the use of city funds for this work was questioned. Arriving in California, the migrants were faced with a life almost as difficult as the one they had left. Many California farms were corporate-owned. They were larger and more modernized that those of the southern plains, and the crops were unfamiliar. The rolling fields of wheat were replaced by crops of fruit, nuts and vegetables. Some 40 percent of migrant farmers wound up in the San Joaquin Valley, picking grapes and cotton. They took up the work of Mexican migrant workers, 120,000 of whom were repatriated during the 1930s. Life for migrant workers was hard. They were paid by the quantity of fruit and cotton picked, with earnings ranging from seventy-five cents to $1.25 a day. Out of that, they had to pay twenty-five cents a day to rent a tar-paper shack with no floor or plumbing. In larger ranches, they often had to buy their groceries from a

high-priced company store. The sheer number of migrants camped out, desperate for work, led to scenes such as that described by John Steinbeck in his novel, The Grapes of Wrath. "Maybe he needs two hundred men, so he talks to five hundred, an' they tell other folks, an' when you get to the place, they's a thousand' men. This here fella says, "I'm payin' twenty cents an hour." An' maybe half a the men walk off. But they's still five hundred that's so goddamn hungry they'll work for nothin' but biscuits. ... The more fellas he can get, less he's gonna pay. An' he'll get a fella with kids if he can." As roadside camps of poverty-stricken migrants proliferated, growers pressured sheriffs to break them up. Groups of vigilantes beat up migrants, accusing them of being Communists, and burned their shacks to the ground. To help the migrants, Roosevelt's Farm Security Administration built 13 camps. When migrants reached California and found that most of the farmland was tied up in large corporate farms, many gave up farming. They set up residence near larger cities in shacktowns called Little Oklahomas or Okievilles, on open lots local landowners divided into tiny subplots and sold cheaply, for $5 down and $3 in monthly installments. They built their houses from scavenged scraps, and lived without plumbing and electricity. Polluted water and a lack of trash and waste facilities led to outbreaks of typhoid, malaria, smallpox and tuberculosis. Over the years, they replaced their shacks with real houses, sending their children to local schools and becoming part of the communities, although they continued to face discrimination when looking for work, and were called "Okies" and "Arkies" by the locals, regardless of where they came from. www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/dustbowl/peopleevents/pandeAMEX08.html

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A Mixed Reception A critical view

Earle Birney, a prize-winning Canadian author with sympathies similar to Steinbeck, called the writing of the book, "a 'deed' — the act of a man out of the pity and wrath of his heart," while a critic for the London Times named it "one of the most arresting [novels] of its time." Steinbeck's popularity with the American public soared, as they found his words to be from the heart of a man whose novels celebrated life and the common fellowship of man. This ability to evoke emotion led to serious criticism of the message of The Grapes of Wrath, as Steinbeck was attacked as a propagandist and a socialist from both the left and the right of the political spectrum. The most fervent of these attacks came from the Associated Farmers of California, as they were displeased with the book's depiction of California farmer's attitudes and conduct toward the migrants. They denounced the book as a "pack of lies" and labeled it "communist propaganda." Along with this group, Steinbeck's novel garnered a negative response from a variety of other sources. Burton Rascoe of Newsweek called Grapes of Wrath a "mess of silly propaganda, superficial observation, careless infidelity to the proper use of idiom, tasteless pornographical and scatagorical talk." Despite the prevalence of these glaringly critical responses, most other negative thoughts were on Steinbeck's literary technique, writing style, or characterization. Coupled with almost every one of these negative responses, was the reviewer's insistence that this novel was a great and important one. Writing for the New York Times Book Review, Peter Monro Jack qualifies his criticisms about

In the subsequent years since The Grapes of Wrath was published its positive support continues to dominate the reviews. Capturing generation after generation with its powerful story, the novel remains popular with the public, selling over 100,000 copies annually. A Time critic called The Grapes of Wrath Steinbeck's "strongest and most durable novel … a concentration of Steinbeck's artistic and moral vision." In looking back on Steinbeck's long career, The Grapes of Wrath stands out to many as the pinnacle of his work. Max Westbrook echoed this when he wrote about two of Steinbeck's other works: "Neither novel comes to grips with the problems handled so courageously in The Grapes of Wrath." Over the years, the Grapes of Wrath's emotional and social impact has become apparent. Louis Owens writes, "Grapes of Wrath is one of America's great novels and the zenith of John Steinbeck's career." With its powerful images and emotional struggle, this story has provoked debate and response since the day it was published. John Timmerman sums up the book's impact: "The Grapes of Wrath may well be the most thoroughly discussed novel in criticism, reviews, and college classrooms of 20th century American literature." Even the contemporary cries that The Grapes of Wrath was communist propaganda have died down, as subsequent reviewers have been able to look at the work from the objective stance of a different time period. Nancy McWilliams and Wilson McWilliams note that Steinbeck "was a conservative, a man who valued and even clung to the old America." Daniel Aaron remarked that the novel was "an insider's plea to the popular conscience, not a call for revolution." From the beginning, The Grapes of Wrath has ignited intense social and literary debate among the public and scholars alike. With this discussion has come a recognition that this novel is not only the best of Steinbeck's career, but is also one of America's best.

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Setting the stage


ith its release in April of 1939, The Grapes of Wrath swept the country, bringing on a storm of reviews. In his writing on Steinbeck's career, Peter Lisca recalled the impact of the book's publication: “The Grapes of Wrath was a phenomenon on the scale of a national event. It was publicly banned and burned by citizens, it was debated on national radio hook-ups; but above all, it was read." Steinbeck's passionate portrayal of the journey of the starving Joad family from the dust bowls of Oklahoma to the fertile valley of California evoked an emotional response in all that read it.

plot structure: "All this is true enough but the real truth is that Steinbeck has written a novel from the depths of his heart with a sincerity seldom equaled. It may be an exaggeration, but it is the exaggeration of an honest and splendid writer." While provoking criticism from various groups for the book's message, and various reviewers for technical aspects, The Grapes of Wrath captured the popularity of the American public, securing it as one of the best protest novels of all time.

The Great Depression Voices of dissent

S t at g e Ta ck l i nSgy ra t hceu st ex


olitical dissent forever percolates in the American consciousness. The need for Americans to control their own destiny that sent the first immigrants to this country bubbles up throughout the centuries. In the 1930s, the need for this control bubbled over in American life, literature, art and politics. Director Michael Edwards wants to capture all of this turmoil and debate in his production of Grapes of Wrath.

As many artists of his time did, Steinbeck looked around him and chronicled the many inequalities in society in the hope that he could bring about change. He was not not alone. Many writers in the 1930s found fault with society’s rejection of the dispossessed and documented it through their poetry or fiction. Works such as John Dos Passos’ U.S.A., James Farrell's Studs Lonigan, Richard Wright's Native Son, Edward Newhouse’s You Can't Sleep Here, Robert Cantwell's

Did you know?

In the 1930s, unrest and dissatisfaction touched mainstream life. The financial calamities Steinbeck’s wife, Carol, came up with the brought about by the Depression gave voice to title of the book from the lyrics of "The liberal thought that had been brewing since the Battle Hymn of the Republic" Russian Revolution. People felt betrayed by authority. They had trusted bankers and other community leaders and now those trusted lead"Mine eyes have seen the glory of the ers were repossessing businesses, farms and coming of the Lord; He is trampling out throwing families out on the streets. People had believed in a community safety net and felt the vintage where the grapes of wrath are betrayed. Thousands were uprooted from their stored ... " homes and were transplanted to hostile communities. People who had led comfortable middleclass lives were made penniless. Other families knew they were barely hanging on to the life Land of Plenty, Nathaniel West’s The Day of the Locust, they knew. The fear made them wary of outsiders. John James Agee’s Let Us Now Praise Famous Men and Steinbeck captures this hostility in the Grapes of Wrath. Dalton Trumbo's Johnny Got His Gun all give voice to a He saw how hostility and poverty made so many quesdissatisfaction that permeated the land. tion authority and he documents it in his novel. The misplaced misery and poverty created mainstream supThese writers gave voice to the need for social equality. port for unions and socialist ideals. And what had been They spoke out against unfair treatment of workers. a fringe idea, dislike of authority, crossed over to the They showed prejudice. And for Steinbeck the book mainstream culture. was much more than fiction. He conducted hours of interviews. He met with strike leaders and had his heart John Steinbeck picked up on this thought. He had writbroken by the sight of hungry children. ten about injustice before, and it is in Grapes of Wrath where he gives voice to a movement for social change. His words set off a sea change in society. People critiHis involvement in a liberal dialogue can be traced cized Steinbeck for what they called his slanted view, back — as it can with so many great liberal thinkers of but Eleanor Roosevelt came to his defense. Steinbeck the 1930s — to John Reed’s Ten Days that Shook the educated the American public about the inequities of World (1919). At his wife’s urging, Steinbeck attended a the California camps. And his ability to convey the John Reed club in California. He disliked the club’s rad- migrant workers’ plight led to legislative reforms and an ical communist politics, but he shared its fervor for improved life for the people who inspired him to write workers’ rights. about the Joads.

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Glossary Billy goating: Goofing off, fooling around (Act I)

Sacka Durham: Tobacco (Act II) Side meat: Uncured bacon (Act II)

Brood sow: A pig used for breeding (Act I) Sixty-six: Before the federal Interstate system, Route 66 was the major way to cross the southwestern part of the country. (Act I)

Bull-simple: Stubbornly ignorant (Act II) Hardscrabble: Being or relating to a place of barren or barely arable soil. Getting a meager living from poor soil; or marked by poverty. (Act I)

Jack in his jeans: Money in his pocket (Act I) Jalopies: Slang for car (Act I)

Threshing machine: Machine used for harvesting corn and wheat. (Act I)

Jehovites: A Protestant fundamentalist sect. (Act I)

Tom cattin: Looking for women (Act I)

Mitts: (Act I) Slang for hands

Trap: Mouth (Act II)

Red: Communist (Act II)

Two bits: A quarter (Act II)

Route 66 Facts Route 66 is 2448 miles long. (about 4000 km) Route 66 was commissioned in 1926, picking up as many as possible bits and pieces of existing road. Route 66 crosses eight states and three time zones. Route 66 starts in Chicago, and ends in L.A. (Santa Monica). Some people think driving it in the opposite direction is historically wrong, but it's mainly a lot harder as all available documentation goes the "right" way. In 1926 only 800 miles of Route 66 were paved. Only in 1937 did Route 66 get paved end-to-end. You can only drive parts of Route 66 these days ... it has been replaced by the interstate highways I-55, I-44, I-40, I-15 and I-10, but still a surprisingly high amount of old road is waiting to be found by the more adventurous traveler. Route 66 is also know as "The Mother Road," "The Main Street of America" and "The Will Rogers Highway." During all of its life, Route 66 continued to evolve, leaving many abandoned stretches of concrete still waiting to be found by the more adventurous traveler. Route 66 was also the title of a TV series playing from 1960 till 1964 Cyrus Stevens Avery from Tulsa, Oklahoma can be called the father of Route 66. In 1985 Route 66 was officially decommissioned, but for daily use it was replaced far earlier by the Interstates.

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Ta ck l i n g t h e t ex t

Hayseed: Derogatory work for someone from the country (Act II)

Talking in tongues (Act I): A tradition from the Pentecostal Church. They believe that they get so close to God during the Church service that the Holy Spirit enters their bodies and speaks through them. The language they speak in this state is not any known language and is called speaking in tounges.(Act I)

Migrants’ life in CNY Who are the Joads today — an exhibit

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Americans tend to perceive migrant farm workers as an issue for the West, where popular culture, the flow of undocumented workers across the Mexican border, and the decades long effort to organize harvest labor have made them visible. In the Northeast, save the attention journalists and scholars focused on the scandalous housing conditions in Long Island and western New York State migrant camps in the 1960s, migrant agricultural laborers have scarcely come before the public eye. Yet migrants — domestic and offshore, families and single men, "day haul" from nearby cities or workers housed for a season — have been recruited to harvest crops in the Northeast for at least a century. The Cornell project — through photographs, personal stories, and statistics — endeavors to explain why Northeastern growers originally turned to migrant labor and why they do so today. It constructs a portrait of the people who come to work seasonally on the Northeast's farms and fields, what motivates their migration and why their lives at home and away from home are like. Many migrant agricultural workers — yesterday and today — are not rootless; they have a place they understand and value as home, and their migrancy is critically related to it. The exhibition explores how changing consumer tastes, agricultural practices and demographics have affected the employment of migrant farm workers in different parts of this region. Students learn the world behind the supermarket shelves. The MOST will feature a historical ehibit “Coming Up on the Season: Migrant Farmworkers in the Northeast. Study guides for this exhibit, at three grade levels with classroom projects on reading photographs, document-based questions etc..., can be downloaded at this link: www.farmworkers.cornell.edu/curriculum.htm The MOST exhibit, "Coming up on the Season: Migrant Farmworkers in the Northeast," runs February 5 - May 30 In Spanish and English. Wednesday through Sunday, 11 am to 5 pm, 500 South Franklin Street, Syracuse

Migrant studies on the Web www.farmworkers.cornell.edu/index.htm This is the site for the exhibit. Cornell university’s site endeavors to explain why northeastern growers originally turned to migrant labor and why they do so today. It constructs a portrait of the people who come to work seasonally on the Northeast's farms and fields, what motivates their migration and why their lives at home and away from home are like other resources: www.farmworkers.cornell.edu/pdf/facts_on_farmworkers.pdf History and facts on migrant workers www.longislandmuseum.org/exhibits/season.asp An essay about migrant farmers in the Northeast

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The Grimm View A conversation with composer Tim Grimm

TK: What is this story about for you?

But, where would Woody be right now in this world of reality TV and talk show radio and all of this stuff that clutters our world and clutters our mind? We're living in a society right now that is now great at listening and not great at really supporting live events like theatre and intimate music. It's a lot harder.

irector Michael Donald Edwards asked actor (Clear and Present Danger, Backdraft and The Insider) and singer Tim Grimm to write music for and appear in Syracuse Stage’s production of The Grapes of Wrath because of Grimm’s passion for rural life and early Americana music. Following is an excerpt of an interview between

TG: Grapes of Wrath is a story about, in a nutshell, trying to make the world a better place. It is about hopefulness, a sense of what is right.

TK: What do you think is the draw to this type of story, to the stories of rural America and its people?

TK: How do you see the music as changing or adding to the story? What part does it play? TG: Steinbeck wrote this novel based on research and observation. To me, the music and the time period is so eloquently captured ... actually, eloquent is an odd word to use, given the man ... but, by Woody Guthrie. At the same time that Steinbeck was writing this novel Guthrie was living the novel. He was born and raised in Oklahoma and lived in the panhandle of Texas for a while and wrote all of the Dust Bowl ballads, really chronicling history in a real-life way. To me it's really important in this production to honor what he spoke about all of those years ago. I'll write some things using my own voice, but with that sense of hardened character that Woody had. TK: Guthrie’s work documents economic struggle. Do you think that this type of music, Guthrie's and your own Americana genre, still works in the same healing way? TG: [Laughs] That's a big question. In an ideal world, it would. I don't know if, in the present environment and

TG: It draws me because these are all people that face hard lives; they face challenges and they're all living such simple lives, but they're all seeking direction. In some ways it's very uncomplicated and there's a part of me that is drawn to a simple level in this day and age, which is now very complicated. TK: What should people know about this story before they see the production? TG: From my perspective, it's important for people to know that it's still a very relevant story. This is a human story and it's historical; this family represents a time period and a place in the western part of our country. But in a lot of ways, things haven't changed. People have became so insular and really focused on our own lives so much, and even with all of this vast media reporting on the rest of the world, we've become passive about parts of this country and people in this country living certain kinds of lives, and certainly people in the rest of the world living these kinds of lives. This production will hopefully take the audience out of their own day-to-day existence and put them in the place of a group of people struggling to seek out a truth and a better place. Hopefully it will serve a level of fairness

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Behind the scenes


culture it has much of a chance. That's not to say there's not still hope. In a way it's akin to Bruce Springsteen and his efforts on the campaign trail last year, right? In terms of what they're doing thematically and what they're trying to do in the country, Springsteen and John Mellencamp are sort-of the rock princes of what Woody Guthrie was all about.

Questions for Discussion In the classroom In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Steinbeck said, “. . . The writer is delegated to declare and to celebrate man’s proven capacity for greatness of heart and spirit—for gallantry in defeat, for courage, compassion and love.” Debate whether or not the author met his own standards in the writing of The Grapes of Wrath.

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At first, Ma Joad feels the “family” is what life is all about and is all that is important. Trace how her view changes and analyze what statement Steinbeck is making through this change. The Grapes of Wrath is described as among the most loved and the most hated of books. Discuss what elements you think caused it to be highly praised. What elements do you think caused it to be banned and burned in some communities? Some literary criticism maintains The Grapes of Wrath is an allegory, a story where characters, setting, and events have both a literal and symbolic meaning. Explore what the Joads’ journey along Route 66 might symbolize. Discuss what different characters like Tom Joad, Ma, Jim Casy, or Granma and Granpa might symbolize. In the first chapter of The Grapes of Wrath, as part of the description of the Dust Bowl, Steinbeck writes, “The men were silent and they did not move often. And the women came out of the houses to stand beside their men—to feel whether this time the men would break.” Discuss the mood this image evokes. What tone does it set for the novel? How did the creative team turn this writing into a live production? What’s more powerful the words on the page or the theatrical production? When the book was first published many forgot the Joads were only make-believe. Discuss what you think caused the public to view these fictional people as real.

Dorothea Lange, photo

Credit: Alisa Soderquist Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia www.discoveryschool.com

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Questions continued 1. Look closely at the opening paragraphs. Steinbeck notes details as well as the wide angle shot. He was influenced by film Pare Lorentz's documentaries The Plow that Broke the Plains and The River and his description of place is cinematic here. The structure of these paragraphs mirrors the structure of the book, as it moves back and forth from the detailed Joad chapters to the interchapters that cover a wider perspective. 2. The end of this opening chapter focuses on the people on the land, men vs. women. Note the ways that the book contrasts men's "figuring" to women's methods of coping.

4. The turtle chapter is justly famous. Early reviewers often focused only on the historical accuracy of the novel, whereas Steinbeck insisted that he was not writing merely social history, his vision was also highly suggestive, symbolic, mythic. The book, he said, had four layers readers could take out of the novel what they could, based on their sensitivity and sophistication as readers. The turtle symbolizes the migrants in several ways. Discuss. 5. The meaning of home is important throughout this book. Discuss what home means initially to Muley, to Tom, to Ma and the other migrants. Does the definition of home shift throughout the novel? 6. Muley and Casy each offers an alternative life to Tom and two ways to respond to crisis. Examine the central ideas and beliefs of each. 7. Why do Granma and Granpa die before the family reaches California? Why does Connie leave? 8. The interchapters serve a number of purposes: stylistic variety, pace changers, historical overview, repositories of Steinbeck's social and political ideas. Find examples of each. Note how his prose often echoes the King James Bible. Why would Steinbeck have included these echoes? 9. An early and thoughtful essay called "The Philosophical Joads" by Frederic I. Carpenter (1941) ends with this comment: "For the first time in history, The Grapes of Wrath brings together and makes real three great skeins of American thought. It begins with the transcendental oversoul, Emerson's faith in the common man, and his Protestant self-reliance. To this it joins Whitman's religion of the love of all men and his mass democracy. And it combines these mystical and poetic ideas with the realistic philosophy of pragmatism and its emphasis on effective action. From this it develops a new kind of Christianity not otherworldly and passive, but earthly and active." Trace these threads. 10. Consider the implications of the title, taken from "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," whose lyrics Steinbeck had printed in the endpapers of the first edition. ("He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.") The title also refers to the book of Revelation: "And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God" (xiv 19). Comment on references to grapes as representing both want and plenty. 11. References to water are equally abundant in this novel. Consider why water is such a powerful referent. 12. Compare the ending of John Ford's film which ends with Ma Joad declaring that "we're the people" to Steinbeck's ending. Why would Ford change the end? Why would he shift the placement of the government camp section? www2.sjsu.edu/steinbeck/

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I n t h e c l a s s ro o m

3. Why does Steinbeck first introduce Tom Joad leaving jail? What thematic concerns are thus introduced?

For further research Web quests and Web resources ssSro aogsm ct u Set a g e I n t ShyeracScl ayusra

Study guides edsitement.neh.gov/view_lesson_plan.asp?ID=300 Lesson plans on teaching the Dust Bowl history from the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities. it includes information on the music, novels and photographs of the ear. It says it will introduce students to history through photographs, songs and interviews with people who lived through the Dust Bowl. For grades 3-5 www.rockhall.com/programs/plandetail.asp?id=529 Fantastic Web site! Includes a lesson plan on Grapes of Wrath and Woody Guthrie’s music. It includes clips of Guthrie’s music. It writes, “ Studying the music of Woody Guthrie along with John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath will enhance students' understanding of both works and of the historical conditions which produced them. Students will see how these artists drew inspiration from the common people and how both attempted to use their art as agents of social change.” The curriculum has students 1) Recognize thematic parallels between Woody Guthrie's music and Steinbeck's novel; 2) Develop an appreciation for the novel and music as historical documents; and 3) Explore the idea of the "American spirit." www.humanities-interactive.org/texas/dustbowl/ Web quests for teaching Dust Bowl history. It doesn’t list grade appropriate levels. school.discovery.com/lessonplans/pdf/grapesofwrath/grapesofwrath.pdf Lesson plan for high school students to create a dramatic monologue based on the novel.

Study guides to the novel www.gradesaver.com/ClassicNotes/Titles/grapeswrath/ Analysis and summaries of the novel. www.nashville-schools.davidson.k12.tn.us/CyberGuides/grapes/teachertemplate.html Actually the San Diego school system’s study guide to the novel.

More classroom activities www.americanwriters.org/classroom/scrapbook/js_bio.asp This site asks students to create a John Steinbeck scrapbook based on a biography that is part of the site. www.nde.state.ne.us/SS/1930.html Web quests on the Dust Bowl and the novel.

History www.unccd.int//publicinfo/duststorms/part2-eng.pdf A government report on The Dust Bowl. Excellent for high school students to use as a primary source for research. www.memory.loc.gov/ammem/fsahtml/fachap03.html Dorothy Lange’s history photos of the Depression and Dust Bowl. xroads.virginia.edu/ This site contains a section on the 1930s presented through the lenses of films, radio programs, print, and other forms of cultural expression. It requires ShockWave, RealPlayer, and Netscape 3.0 or better for optimal use.

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For further research Web sites www.aflcio.org/aboutaflcio/history/history/links.cfm Links to lesson plans, resources etc.. for teaching labor history. /lcweb.loc.gov/History eSearch.com Located in the American Memory collection, this is an excellent multi-media resource for the lives of those portrayed in The Grapes of Wrath. Many US history/Depression Era links contains primary sources. www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/resource_guides/content.cfm?tpc=24 A general overview of the time of the novel. www.historic66.com/ History of route 66 with maps and a slide show.

title3.sde.state.ok.us/history_and_culture/ Color photos of Oklahoma, historic photos, lesson plans and information on the Dust Bowl. www.npr.org/programs/morning/features/patc/grapesofwrath/ A resource on how Steinbeck wrote the novel. Includes a news report, a digital recording of Woody Guthrie's songs "Tom Joad" and a film clip of The Grapes of Wrath. It also has many links.

Steinbeck biography www.sjsu.edu/depts/steinbec/srchome.html This web site offers biographical information and photos of Steinbeck and links researcher to other sites and Steinbeck archives. www.ipl.org/ref/litcrit/ The IPL site contains links to critical and biographical information about Steinbeck which can be accessed by author's name, book title, or literary time period in America. www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1985/3/85.03.04.x.html#f Includes a lesson plan for teaching The Grapes of Wrath www.mchsmuseum.com/steinbeck.html Monterey historical society resources on Steinbeck’s life. An excellent guide for students on a Web quest about his life.

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I n t h e c l a s s ro o m

www.geocities.com/Nashville/3448/dbball.html A fan created this site with information on Guthrie’s songs

Annotated Bibliography Steinbeck: A Life in Letters. Eds. Elaine Steinbeck and Robert Wallsten. New York: Viking Press, 1975. This edited collection includes letters Steinbeck wrote to friends, family, and colleagues. The presentation in chronological format makes the subject matter clearly autobiographical.

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Benson, Jackson J. The True Adventures of John Steinbeck, Writer: A Biography. New York: Viking P, 1984. "Jackson . . . [with] full access to Steinbeck's papers and photographs[,] . . . interviewed scores of individuals in his decade of research for this book." Kiernan, Thomas. The Intricate Music: A Biography of John Steinbeck. Boston: Little, Brown, 1979. This is a rich source of anecdotal material. Lisca, Peter. The Wide World of John Steinbeck. New Brunswick: 1958. There is an abundance of biographical material scattered throughout the first section of this volume. Parini, Jay. John Steinbeck: A Biography. New York: H. Holt, 1995. "Jay Parini explores Steinbeck's love-hate relationship with Hollywood and Broadway, his career as a war correspondent, his difficult first and second marriages, and his often tempestuous associations with numerous celebrities. . ." Valjean, Nelson. John Steinbeck, The Errant Knight: An Intimate Biography of His California Years. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1975. "Nelson Valjean - - a friend of John Steinbeck, his family and limited circle of intimate friends from the earliest days in Salinas, California . . . . [writes about] the characters, places and experiences presented . . . in Steinbeck's books and plays; the pony he loved, the hills he roamed, the paisanos he drank with and, of course, Ed Ricketts, the biologist-philosopher of Cannery Row." CRITICISM: Astro, Richard, and Tetsumaro Hayashi, eds. Steinbeck: The Man and His Work. Proc. of the 1970 Steinbeck Conference. Corvallis: OR State U P, 1971. The book is a collection of articles "originally presented at the 1970 Steinbeck Conference held in Corvallis, Oregon [written by] . . . a diverse group of Steinbeck scholars and personal acquaintances whose essays provide the kind of 'toto-picture' of the novelist no other volume of Steinbeck criticism has ever attempted." Bloom, Harold, ed. John Steinbeck. New York: Chelsea House, 1987. "Among the distinguished critics and scholars represented in this volume, Howard Levant views The Grapes of Wrath as a successful epic that yields to flaws in its final quarter. . ." ---. John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. Broomall, PA : Chelsea House, 1996. "This volume is designed to present biographical, critical, and bibliographical information on John Steinbeck and The Grapes of Wrath. Following Harold Bloom's introduction, there appears a detailed biography of the author, discussing the major events in his life and his important literary works." Heavilin, Barbara A., ed. The Critical Response to John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. Westport, CN: Greenwood P, 2000. "This collection of critical essays is divided into two parts, “with the first part looking back on the first fifty years, 1939-1989 and the second looking forward to a new millennium." continued

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Annotated Bibliography continued Kazan, Alfred. In On Native Grounds: An Interpretation of Modern American Prose Literature. New York. Steinbeck’s realism was mindful of the terror and disorganization of the times but not submissive to the spiritual stupor of the time.

Lisca, Peter. The Wide World of John Steinbeck. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers U P, 1958. This ". . . chronological treatment of the novels allows [Lisca] both to show the autobiographical connection between one novel and the next and to illustrate the growth of Steinbeck's ideas and the changes in his style." Moore, Harry T. The Novels of John Steinbeck: A First Critical Study. Chicago, 1939. An explanation and a commentary is offered rather than abstract criticism. Rascoe, Burton. “Excuse It, Please,” Newsweek, 1 May 1939, p.38. This article is an attack on the inaccuracies of The Grapes of Wrath. Richards, Edmund C. “The Challenge of John Steinbeck”. North American Review. 243 (Summer 1937), pp. 406413. This article defends Steinbeck against “bloodless moralists” of the genteel tradition. Shippey, T.A. “East of Camelot,” In The Times Literary Supplement, Times Newspapers Ltd. (London), 1977, April 28, 1977, p. 536. This article criticizes Steinbeck’s The Acts of King Arthur and His Nobel Knights; Shippey says that when Steinbeck abandons caution he contributes most. The effects are comic in detail, sombre in implications, distinctly of this century. Stuckey, W.J. The Pulitzer Prize Novels. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1966. This book details the controversy about awarding The Grapes of Wrath the Pulitzer Prize. Taylor, Walter Fulton. “The Grapes of Wrath Reconsidered”, Mississippi Quarterly 12 (Summer 1959), pp. 136-144. Discusses novel from a conservative Christian view. Weeks, Donald. “Steinbeck Against Steinbeck,” Pacific Spectator 1 (Autumn 1947), pp. 447-457. This article was critical of Steinbeck’s sentimentality. Wilson, Edmund. In Classics and Commercials: A Literary Chronicle of the Forties, pp. 35-45. New York: Farrar, Straus, 1950. Wilson is critical of Steinbeck’s work but recognizes his observation and invention and the color in his writing. Owens, Louis. The Grapes of Wrath: Trouble in the Promised Land. Boston: Twayne, 1989. "Louis Owens's [book] provides a complete context for Steinbeck's masterwork, including detailed descrip-

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I n t h e c l a s s ro o m

Kennedy, John S. “John Steinbeck: Life Affirmed and Dissolved” In Fifty Years of the American Novel, edited by H.C. Gardiner. New York: Scribner’s, 1951 The judgment one must pass on Steinbeck is this: that he is a sentimentalist.

Annotated Bibliography continued

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-tions of the Joads' real-life counterparts, the thousands of migrant farm workers who poured into California in the thirties; an analysis of Steinbeck's early career and development; and an . . . overview of the critical response to the novel. Wyatt, David, ed. New Essays on The Grapes of Wrath. New York: Cambridge U P, 1990. David Wyatt examines the history of the novel's reception. He also analyzes the text from a social realistic viewpoint, concentrating on California as the lost dream. The other four essays . . . cover issues and themes of Steinbeck's politics, metaphors of movement and growth, views of women, uses of documentary, and the transformation of the novel into film." REFERENCE WORKS: Astro, Richard. "John Steinbeck." Dictionary of Literary Biography: Volume 9: American Novelists, 1910-1945: Part 3: Mari Sandoz-Stark Young. Detroit: Gale Research, 1984-current. 43-68. One of the primary Steinbeck critics gives biographical and critical information on the author. Contemporary Literary Criticism: Criticism of the Works of Today's Novelists, Poets, Playwrights, Short Story Writers, Scriptwriters, and Other Creative Writers. Detroit: Gale Research, 1984-current. Information is found here by looking up Grapes of Wrath in the Cumulative Title Index, which refers the reader to literary criticism of the novel included in the over 160 volume print set. "John Steinbeck." Dictionary of Literary Biography: Documentary Series: An Illustrated Chronicle. Ed. Margaret A. Van Antwerp. Vol. 2. Detroit: Gale Research, 1984-current. 2 vols. 279-332. "John Steinbeck: 1902-1968." American Writers: A Collection of Literary Biographies. Ed. Leonard Unger. Vol 4. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1974. 4 vols. 49-72. This extended essay parallels Steinbeck's life with his works.

Quent Carter, Ph.D., Public Services Librarian Solano College Library

“Man, unlike any other thing organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts, emerges ahead of his accomplishments.� John Steinbeck The Grapes of Wrath

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Profile for Syracuse Stage

The Grapes of Wrath  

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